Anirudh Sainath Krishnamani, the digital artist who was forced to take down three of his paintings from an exhibition at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath owing to pressure from a Bharatiya Janata Party leader, is now contemplating legal action against the State government and the art gallery.
Taking cognisance of an oral complaint by Bharatiya Janata Party State media coordinator A.L. Shivakumar about the paintings — depicting Kali, Mohini and Shiva-Sati in the nude — the city police ensured that the parishath withdrew the paintings on Monday.
Speaking to The Hindu a day after his son’s paintings were pulled down, M.N. Krishnamani, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, said, “This action of the police is completely against the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. I will file cases against the State government and the gallery.”
Additional Commissioner of Police Law and Order T. Suneel Kumar said there was “no controversy” and responded with anger when pressed by The Hindu for a detailed response.
But, as the 22-year-old Delhi artist pointed out: “I am the one that’s hurt and offended.” He attributed the offence taken to “ignorance about Indian culture and mythology”. “If art keeps receiving such blows and if artists keep backing down, there will be no art left in this country.”
Of his nude painting of the deity Kali, Mr. Krishnamani said, “She is called Digambara, which means clad in space or, in other words, naked.”
Of his Mohini, he said, “She is the goddess of seduction. She is supposed to look seductive.”
As for his depicting Shiva-Sati kissing in each other’s embrace, he said, “This painting was inspired by Kalidasa’s Kumarasambhava. Anybody who has read this text will know that it is far more graphic in its description of the Shiva-Parvathi union than my painting was.”
Home Minister R. Ashok was quoted by television channels as saying that he would respond after he was briefed. Officials at the parishath remained tight-lipped about the row.